As Long Island approaches the fifth anniversary of superstorm Sandy, some families are marking a simultaneous milestone: the fifth birthday of their babies born during the storm.
“He’s a terror. I say that because of the storm,” jokes Yolanda Almonte, 34, about her son, Cecilio Jr., born at Good Samaritan Medical Center in West Islip on Oct. 30, 2012.
Almonte says her memories of the birth have been especially vivid this year, because the family — which also includes twin siblings Lillyana and Christian, 7, and dad Cecilio, 35 — recently moved from Bay Shore to Kissimmee, Fla., and weathered yet another storm: “We just went through Hurricane Irma,” Almonte says.
Margarita Udall, 34, of Oceanside, also gave birth on Oct. 30, 2012, to son Eli. She has a children’s picture book she reads to him all the time called “On the Night You Were Born,” by Nancy Tillman, which coincidentally is about a baby born during a tempest.
“He’s still a little too young to fully understand what happened,” says Eli’s dad, James, 42. Eli, who just started kindergarten, loves sea creatures and dinosaurs, James says.
The Udalls have since experienced another birth: Eli’s little sister, Isabelle, is 2. Her birth was quite uneventful compared to her big brother’s. “It was during the day, it was sunny out, it wasn’t raining,” Margarita says.
After Eli’s birth, the Udalls couldn’t return immediately to their home, because their house had flooded. They had to live temporarily in Margarita’s grandmother’s one-bedroom apartment in Queens.
It was different with Isabelle. “I was able to bring her home afterwards, which was really great,” Margarita says.